Thursday, May 15, 2014

LAND OF MY DREAMS - Norma Gail - One Free Book

Welcome, Norma. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
Writing myself into my characters, was never my intention. I was quite surprised to see how much of me comes out in them. I cannot say the struggles of my characters in Land of My Dreams parallel my life in any way, but the spiritual lessons they learn are very much the lessons I have learned in my own life. Many of the situations they find themselves in are things I have experienced, or similar. I’m not certain it is possible to avoid writing yourself and your experience into a book.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I asked my entire family and no one would give me an answer. The most unusual thing I have ever done was to meet a second cousin on a genealogy message board and plan a trip together. We began communicating and the next thing I knew, she, her mom, and two sisters were coming to visit. My mom met hers once when they were in their teens. My husband said I was possibly inviting axe-murderers into our home, but I ignored him. After all, we had a Christmas card photo from 50 years ago and they looked very normal. We rented a Suburban and drove about five hours to the small town where our great grandparents used to live. We started talking when they arrived and were still talking when they left about a week later. I am totally fascinated by my family’s history and meeting “long-lost” relatives.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I have made up stories since I was little, and have always had a vivid imagination. I wanted to be like Jo in Little Women. I wrote stories and poems. Then I married, and a job and children kept me from having much time to write. After my dad died, in 1995, I wrote the first poem I had written in over 20 years. Then I compiled a biography because all the grandchildren were very young and I wanted them to know their grandfather. I began writing devotionals as openings for the Bible study, and it just kept growing. I am compelled to write things down.

I broke my foot when we were building our house, ending up in a wheelchair, unable to drive. I began putting thoughts down on paper, and received some encouraging comments from friends, so I began to attend writers’ conferences. I was offered a contract for Land of My Dreams after my second conference in 2012. My debut novel was released on April 22nd.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
My library has a large variety of fiction and non-fiction, but I have always preferred fiction. I love the classics—the stuff that most people hated in school, especially Dickens and the Bronte sisters, Nathaniel Hawthorne and George MacDonald. The characters are delightful, the settings intriguing, and the descriptions are excellent.

More contemporary authors I enjoy are Michael Phillips, Liz Curtis Higgs, and Brock and Bodie Thoene. Two non-Christian authors I also read are Kate Morton and Luanne Rice.

Because I have led Bible studies for 18 years, I study a lot. I read commentaries and have been known to sit down with an encyclopedia. When I get a chance to read for entertainment, I devour fiction.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
The key to staying sane is staying grounded in God’s word. I spent 14 years in Bible Study Fellowship, eight of those years as a Discussion Leader. I am now in my tenth year leading a weekly women’s Bible study at our church. Nothing helps your perspective like digging deep into scripture, and the responsibility of leading other women keeps you on your toes. It is impossible to lead where you have not first gone yourself. Six years ago my husband and I built our dream house in the mountains. Whether I am studying or writing, I thrive on the peace and quiet.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
Since Land of My Dreams takes place mostly in Scotland, I chose names that are typically Scottish. I enjoy sprinkling the names of family members and good friends here and there to surprise them. I search for names that suit the personality of the character. I picked that up from Dickens, though I would never claim to be as original as he was. One of the most beautiful sounding names in my book is one of my least favorite characters, and that was intentional.

The main character in Land of My Dreams is Bonny, the name of one of my grandmother’s sisters. It’s feminine, sweet, and quite well suited to someone in a novel set in Scotland.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I am most proud of raising my children. Our adult children were both adopted as infants. I loved every stage they went through and am very proud of the adults they have turned out to be. I had the privilege of homeschooling our son through high school. I was a dedicated soccer mom for our daughter, who played through college, videotaping every game she played. Nothing in life can compare to the privilege of knowing that God chose us to raise them.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I would love to be an otter. They seem to have so much fun and always make me smile.

When we went to the California coast, we loved watching the otters. What is your favorite food?
New Mexican food. You notice I did not just say Mexican food. New Mexico is known for our traditional foods, and nothing in any other state compares. I talk about New Mexican food a lot in Land of My Dreams. Bonny, the main character, is from the same area of New Mexico where I live. Green chile, red chile, fixed almost any way, with breakfast, lunch, or dinner. My daughter-in-law even makes green chile jelly, and it is delicious.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge was to write about a country I only visited for two weeks and could not return to for more research. I spent hours researching on the Internet, reading books, watching movies and documentaries, and made myself a screen-saver with over 400 photos to give me a feel for things. I also found a wonderful woman, through the ACFW romance loop, to edit for Scottish content. Amy Drown more than earned the Amazon card I promised in payment.

Tell us about the featured book.
Land of My Dreams is the story of an American college professor, Bonny Bryant, who has suffered heartbreaking circumstances and longs for a haven of peace. She accepts a position at a small Christian college in Fort William, Scotland, headed by her father’s best friend.

Falling in love is something she never anticipated. When she meets fellow professor and sheep farmer, Kieran MacDonell, it is almost love at first sight. They share a deep anger toward God, for the losses they have endured. When Bonny returns to New Mexico for a visit, her former fiancĂ© reenters her life. Four thousand miles away, Kieran’s loneliness draws him to an attractive former student. Bonny must decide between her two rivals. Both must determine if they can set aside the past to make way for a future.

Land of My Dreams spans the distance between New Mexico’s high desert mountains and the misty Scottish Highlands with a timeless story of overwhelming grief, undying love, and compelling faith.

Please give us the first page of the book.
Bonny Bryant knew it was crazy to even think about a man when she was headed for Scotland. The Albuquerque International Airport was the first stop in her quest for a new life. Nonetheless, she paused to look at the tanned, trim man in the business suit as he came down the escalator. There was no harm in appreciating a handsome man while she waited for Kari, but then the familiar lump formed in her throat and she turned away, looking for her best friend.

Where was Kari, anyway? She had paused to speak to some old friends of her parents, and Bonny went on to check her bags. The bottom of the escalator was their designated meeting place. A glance at her watch showed only ten more minutes before she would have to go on. She swiped her hand across her eyes. Hurry, Kari, I can’t leave without a hug. You’re all I’ve got.

The tall man stepped off the escalator, a few feet away, and Bonny clasped her hands and closed her eyes, forcing herself to close her mouth. The similarity of his build and appearance to Adam gave her a jolt. Why did she have to be reminded of him right now?

Forcing her thoughts to the present, Bonny looked around the familiar chaos of the “Sunport” with a feeling of nostalgia. Massive wooden vigas carved and painted with bright Native American symbols provided a unique New Mexican flair, undiminished by the varied origins of the travelers. She would miss the distinctive culture of her hometown.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website is I feature Biblical Wisdom for Daily Living through weekly devotionals and daily scriptures. About once a month I post something about Land of My Dreams or about writing, and will soon be doing book reviews and guest posts. The book trailer for Land of My Dreams is there as well as a link to Amazon.

They are welcome to email me at

I have a Pinterest board for Land of My Dreams where readers can find photos of things that helped inspire the book:

Thank you, Norma, for sharing this book with us. I can't wait to read it.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Land of My Dreams - A Home for My Heart - Amazon
Land of My Dreams - A Home for My Heart: The greatest blessings come when you leave the familiar behind and take a step of faith. - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Diana Gardner said...

Portsmouth, VA

Anonymous said...

would love to win. Angela in Ky

Britney Adams said...

I loved learning more about Norma Gail and LAND OF DREAMS! It sounds like a wonderful story!! Thank you so much for the chance to win.

Britney Adams, TX

Melanie Backus said...

It was wonderful learning about Norma Gail and Land of Dreams. Thank you for the opportunity to be a winner.

Melanie Backus, TX

Susan Johnson said...

This is a new author to me. Thank you for "introducint" me to her. This sounds like a great book.
Susan in Texas

Diana Flowers said...

I LOVE stories that take place in Scotland and would so love to win this! I'm going in for major surgery soon and I'm getting my TBR stack ready for recupe time. Not to mention taping some good Hallmark movies!

Building your own home is such an exciting time! I'm so sorry you broke your foot during that time or any time as a matter of fact! :(

Diana in SC


Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Sharon Richmond Bryant

Courtney Clark (The Green Mockingbird Blog) said...

I'd love to win!

Courtney C. from AR

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great book!
Thanks for the giveaway
Sydney Harries GA

Norma Gail said...

Thank you all for your comments! Sorry it took me so long to respond! I have been at the Colorado Christian Writer's Conference and got a little out of touch. Your interest in Lsnd of My Dreams is very encouraging!

sm said...

This book sounds intriguing with a connection between New Mexico and Scotland. sharon, CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Norma Gail said...

I love reading your comments! Thanks for reading my interview. Good luck!